You can fight HD, support our families and help search for a cure. Help us.
This section contains a myriad of information to help you perform your important leadership role. If something is missing or incomplete, please let us know and we'll try to develop and post the material. And check back often for new leadership ideas that we add!
Tips on Working with Volunteers
Many of our volunteers are touched by HD in some way through their families or close friends and have all kinds of feelings about HD (anger, fear, hope for a cure or better treatment, frustration or compassion). Working for the Society helps to channel these feelings into the battle against HD, so encourage your members to share their feeling at a support group meeting, with their HSC resource centre director or support worker or with you privately.
Be grateful for whatever gifts of time your volunteers provide. Anyone concerned with HD has a lot to cope with. Expect people to take time off, allow them to drop out gracefully, and be prepared to welcome them back when they are able to be involved again. Make sure your volunteers feel comfortable telling you whenever they are overloaded and need some help.
Value each volunteer's contribution equally. Every effort is important.
Be clear what you are asking each volunteer to do. It's often a good idea to sit down with each volunteer and together decide on the list of tasks and deadlines. For many projects, National Office may have a list of steps already prepared.
Take the time to explain how a volunteer's particular job fits into the chapter's work and the goals of the Society. Planning an event to "raise money to send to National Office" is one thing - planning an event to "raise money to find a cure for HD, help Huntington's families improve their lives, and make the public understand HD better" is another thing. Which one would you rather work on?
The wider the range of options for volunteering that you offer, the wider the range of volunteers that will apply. Over time it helps to establish a leadership ladder within your chapter so there is always something more challenging that volunteers can take on as they gain experience.
Give everyone an opportunity to report to the group on what they've done. It recognizes their achievements and motivates other volunteers.
Make sure National Office knows how hard your volunteers are working - we'd like to thank them too.
Once someone has agreed to volunteer their time to the Society, your most
important job is to orient them to HSC and your chapter. The time you spend on this activity will be repaid many times over. National Office will assist you in determining how to orient new volunteers. Dont hesitate to call.
Thank your volunteers often, and recognize the small contributions as well as the big ones. Appreciation is the strongest motivator of all. Not all of us like the same form of recognition, however, so get to know your volunteers and match the recognition to the person.
There are many ways, both formal and informal, to recognize your volunteers.
Informal recognition starts by smiling and greeting all your volunteers by name. Here are some time-tested ideas:
Be sensitive to the needs and problems of your volunteers
Respect the individuality of your volunteers
Say We Missed You, Good-Bye and Thank You
Give praise often
Take the time to listen to each volunteer
Take a photo of your volunteers during or after a project
Keep challenging the talents of your volunteers and give them an opportunity to grow
Give your volunteers an opportunity to get involved in planning chapter activities
Formal recognition involves tangible rewards such as certificates, pins, plaques and awards. The process of presenting awards might be carried out in a formal manner where others are present. National Office can help with some ideas for this kind of recognition - please give us a call.
Some methods of formal recognition are:
Send greeting cards
Arrange for free tickets to special events
Invite volunteers to appropriate special events
Ask volunteers to evaluate the program
Write thank you notes
Supply letters of reference
Plan annual award ceremonies
Support Volunteer Week activities
Give plaques to supporting groups and to recognize extraordinary achievement